Dembski and Nelson at MIT and Tufts

Howard J. Van Till (
Fri, 2 Apr 1999 09:36:05 -0500

Members of both the ASA and Evolution listserves were recently informed of
upcoming presentations by Bill Dembski and Paul Nelson at MIT and Tufts. I
will not be able to attend either of them.

I presume that these speakers will argue either: 1) that there is empirical
evidence in support of the thesis that certain species or biotic subsystems
have been "intelligently designed;" or 2) that a thesis of this sort
should at least be given respectful consideration by the scientific

However, before either of these arguments can be evaluated, the key term,
"intelligent design," must be defined with clarity and candor. The
operative definition is *not* self-evident.

If anyone on this list chooses to attend either of the presentations
announced, I would be interested to know what the speaker offers in answer
to the following question:

Precisely what does it mean "to be (or have been) intelligently designed"?

I presume that this term refers to some category of action performed by
some type of agent. So, perhaps the answer to the question could be put in
the followiing form:

To be (or have been) 'intelligently designed' is to be (or have been)
____________________________________ [decribe the category of action here]
by __________________________________________________ [identify type of
agent here].

Once the operative definition of "intelligent design" is publicly stated
with clarity and candor, the merits of the theses stated above can be
fruitfully evaluated by all interested parties.

In the interest of clarity,

Howard Van Till